How to Move From a Threat Mindset to a Challenge Mindset with Martin Johnson

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What drives our mindset? Performance improvement evangelist and the founder of Trans2 Performance, Martin Johnson talks about exploring performance psychology from a social perspective and how we can change from a threat mindset to a challenge mindset.

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Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • What Trans2 Performance does and the value that Martin brings to his customers

  • How Martin’s experience in the Royal Navy informed what he does now

  • What drives mindset

  • A challenge state mindset versus a threat state mindset

  • The ABC technique

Key Takeaways:

  • Trans2 Performance explores performance psychology from a social perspective.

  • Mindset is universally relevant. Whether you are an individual just trying to find your way through life, a mother or a father, an entrepreneur who wants to start a business, a leader who’s in the business, or somebody who is working as an employee within an organisation, the right type of mindset is absolutely essential. But understanding where it is and where it comes from is essential.

  • As human beings, we have three main functions that we always default to or want to satisfy that drives our mindset: survival, reproduction, and purpose.

What is a challenge state mindset?

  • A challenge state mindset is where we are focused in the moment entirely on what we want to achieve. We’re aware of the consequences or failure or repercussions but we are absolutely focused on the positive achievement of the task at hand.

What is a threat state mindset?

  • A threat state mindset is where we’re starting to focus now almost entirely on the consequence of what may happen or the repercussions or the failure of the task at hand, almost eradicating any focus on achievement. It’s where we’re trying to not mess up and where we’re simply trying to avoid things going wrong.

  • When you’re unconsciously going through life, you are not making the conscious decision of challenge or threat. Some people unconsciously rise to a challenge and some people will unconsciously rise to a threat. You are not in control of it. But what happens is if you go through too many experiences in life where you see them as a threat and you are constantly recalling that in your brain and you do that for a prolonged period of time, then you get yourself into almost a threat state mindset mentality on an ongoing basis.

The dos and don’ts

  • The worst thing you can do with a worry or with something you deem as a threat is push it away and not welcome it, because it will keep coming back tenfold and it will only increase the anxiety and the worry’s consequence.

  • Actions and decision alleviate anxiety. There is nothing more powerful than a decided mind. When we are undecided or when we are in limbo and we don’t make decisions, anxiety builds.

  • The to-do list in business is the most underutilised, underrated system there is.

Action Steps:

  • Control how you interpret things, if it’s a challenge or if it’s a threat.

  • If you’re concerned about messing up all the time, one of the things that you can do is start blocking out other sources of anxiety or drama or fear. Avoid too much media exposure. Have a news ban.

  • Recognize when you hit the crossroads of the challenge state mindset and threat state mindset and use the ABC technique.

  • Acknowledgment. When you have a worry or a threat state trigger, instead of trying to push it away, acknowledge and accept it. Write it down and write down two or three actionable steps to address it.

  • Breathe. When we moderate our breathing, it helps us reduce some of that chemical release in our brain called cortisol and allows us to delay what we call sensory shutdown.

  • Control. Figure out what you can control in the here and now that will allow you to alleviate any worry of what may happen.

Martin said:

“At an individual level, we have to feel like we serve a purpose, we contribute in some way to society or in life… And for many people, it’s their career. In the modern day world, for many of us, it’s hobbies, or it might be family, or it might be a mixture of all three.”

“We are all human… Even the most resilient people amongst us, we all get to the point where we approach the challenge and threat state crossroads in our life.”

Thanks for listening!

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Links to things we discuss in the show:

More from Martin Johnson and Trans2 Performance:

Email Martin

Follow Martin on X (@Martinjohno82)

Connect with Martin

Watch Martin’s YouTube channel

Trans2 Performance Website

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